So here is the line from "Someone At The Times" in regards to Al's departure.
"My understanding is he volunteered for it. A pretty good payday, I heard, especially for a 77-year-old who would have been put out to pasture a long time ago in most other professions."
(well, except for this profession, which has traditionally valued the skills and opinions of people like.... Walter Cronkite, David Halberstam, Jack Smith, Jim Murray, Pauline Kael, Journos Emeritus, if you please.)
Quite frankly, I think "volunteering" is a long stretch.
It's sort of like me telling my kid, "clean your room or they'll be no TV tonite." He'll do it, but he didn't want to.
From what we've heard straight from the lion's mouth is that he really didn't want to quit, had no intention of ever stopping his biweekly column. And in our meeting with him last month, he intended to finish out his career here.
I think Bill Boyarski has the best point of view in his article, "Dumping Al."